Writer: Pearly Neo
Editor: Janice Fan
Maybe it was the prayer, maybe it was luck, but when I woke up at 6am that Thursday morning, there wasn’t a dark cloud in sight, and there were more than enough people (MAN-power, as the PM put it) gathered in front of the Communal Hall to help with the shifting and loading. Things went smoothly, and soon everything (yes, EVERYTHING, I triple-checked before leaving) that was meant to be transported over was at UCC, and I breathed a sigh of relief. No super-extremely-serious-stern look for me today – I hoped.
The rest of the day was mostly hard work for Tech and Stage, because lights and sounds had to be worked on, and the backstage area had to be prepared for our final rehearsal that night. My time was mostly spent helping Wei Sheng (the other ASM) and Si Min get things ready, and getting associated with things backstage, the VERY COOL intercom system, and the night vision screen I was supposed to monitor to ensure all the scene changes went well. Liansheng (our Assistant Director) spent a good part of the day focusing and arranging the lights, and I was sincerely impressed with the wonders UCC is capable of accommodating with regard to light effects (and also Liansheng’s in-depth knowledge of tech effects, it’s just something that must be acknowledged!)
After the full rehearsal that night, we had a meeting to iron out several issues and then that was it, it was time for us all to get a good night’s sleep, and get ready for the real battle of the next two days.
Production Days One and Two
The beginning of each production day was basically the same as before, with Tech and Stage doing their stuff, but also with Set Builders and Set Décor coming in to make last minute touch-ups and changes. Towards mid-day, there were several people without work to do who were wondering WHY they didn’t have many specific things to do, until Si Min put everyone’s mind at ease with these wise words: “It’s Production Day. If at this point, we all still had a lot of work to do, then the production would be in so much trouble.” Well, I certainly can’t find fault with that.
Day One’s performance went on smoothly, without any glitches whatsoever…until midway of Act 2, when Lisa was practically shoved off her chair by Asher by accident. There was a collective gasp backstage, and many people, including yours truly, clapped their hands to their mouths to avoid saying anything to ruin the show. I’ll bet everyone was thanking every star in heaven when Lisa made a miraculous recovery and went on with the show as if it was all supposed to happen – truly the mark of a genuine professional! I also couldn’t help grinning every time the audience laughed or chuckled – even though I had seen and heard every joke in that script at least five times previously and was more than immune to their comedic value by Bump-In Day, hearing the audience’s reaction and seeing things from their perspective just made things seem funny for me all over again.
Day Two’s performance went just as well as the previous day – in more ways than one. Everyone backstage was mortified when Lisa fell off the chair again, and the PM could be seen knocking his forehead on some unidentified object at this. Even the ASM’s couldn’t help but ask through the intercom whether anything had happened because they heard ‘some very loud sounds’, but just like before, our professional actress carried on and made as though it was part of the show, and the audience cheered her on even more boisterously for it. What was interesting to note though, was that Day 2’s audience mostly laughed loudest at very different scenes from Day 1’s audience. Where on the first day, people laughed loudest at the more tongue-in-cheek jokes, the second day saw the more linguistic jokes being more popular. Not really a significant point as long as everyone enjoyed the show though!
And that was it! It was over, and every member of Hallplay had their 5 minutes of fame during curtain call. I never got to the Front of House because I was handling things backstage, but I saw the Producer, PM and Directors return with flowers, chocolates and other things as tokens of their friends’/family’s/fans’ devotion, and I imagine that things went very well indeed. The most exciting event at the end of Day 2 though, was strike-out, when we had to remove all our things from UCC, and the Set Builders happily and systematically started smashing, throwing and even jumping on their painstakingly constructed sets. I couldn’t detect any hint of regret or heartache on their part though, they were all too happy demolishing everything!
I truly had fun working with Hallplay this year. True, I had my fair share of trepidation and confusion when I was joining a committee full of people I knew next to nothing about, but as I got to know everyone, I feel that we have done really well as a team, basically, and I am so proud of everyone! We made the best cake ever, and it won’t be forgotten by those who experienced it any time soon!